World War II veteran sheds tears at Bomber Command memorial unvileing

FITTING TRIBUTE – The Queen unveils the stunning Bomber Command memorial in London
FITTING TRIBUTE – The Queen unveils the stunning Bomber Command memorial in London

SECOND World War veteran Bill Moore admitted he was ‘moved to tears’ during last week’s unveiling of the new £6 million Bomber Command memorial in London.

The former airman – who took part in top secret Special Operations Executive missions during the conflict – joined fellow RAF veterans to watch The Queen dedicate the memorial and pavilion at Green Park on Thursday.

Mr Moore, 89, of Ebbage Court, Mount Hermon Road, Woking, said Philip Jackson’s 9ft-high bronze sculpture of seven Lancaster bomber airmen housed inside, was “100 per cent complete in every detail”.

He added: “Anybody who flew during that period would have been taken back in time. The statue was 100 per cent complete right down to the buckles on the uniforms and the flying books.”

“It brought me to tears, remembering things and the fact that members of Bomber Command were being honoured after 68 years. I’m not ashamed of it.”

Bomber Command controlled the RAF bombing forces from 1936 until 1968.

Its precision raids on Germany’s industrialised Ruhr Valley played a major part in winning the war and ending Nazi tyranny but led to heavy civilian casualties.

Mr Moore, a senior member of the Bomber Command Association, travelled to London by train with his friend and former Spitfire bomber pilot Ernie Taylor, Cold War pilot Tony Boxall, ex-Fleet Air Arm serviceman Gordon Appleby and Canadian Kerr Boxall, who has raised ‘great donations’ for the memorial fund.

The Black Cabs Association of London laid on a free taxi service for RAF veterans and their families from the major train stations to Green Park.

The Central Band of the Royal Air Force entertained guests for two hours before the memorial was dedicated to the 55,573 Bomber Command lives lost in the war.

Mr Moore said he was proud to honour former Air Chief Marshal ‘Bomber Harris.’

He said: “Bomber Harris was our boss and we honour him. He was given the authority by the then Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the Chief of the Air Staff and Air Ministry.

“We feel at long last that we have managed to have a memorial. It has been hard work raising money for it and we have had many, many friends who have supported us over the years.”

Afterwards, Mr Moore and other guests met The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Edward.

Mr Moore had earlier met the Lord Mayor of London at a reception held by the City of London Corporation at London’s Guildhall the previous evening.

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About the Author: Andy Fitzsimon